Netflix is poised to have increased its spending on UK productions by more than half to £750m ($1bn) in 2020, despite the disruption to its pipeline of shows caused by Covid-19.
The streaming giant makes original shows including The Crown and The Witcher in the UK and has increased its budget by 50% during 2020 on the £500m that it spent on British-made productions in 2019. The extra investment comes after Netflix spent £100m over its originally estimated £400m last year.
Netflix has produced more than 50 TV shows and films in the UK in 2020, despite the shutdown caused by coronavirus restrictions. The streamer is estimated to be spending $17bn on making and licensing TV shows and films this year globally, with the British budget second only to the US, with around a third of all its European productions made in the UK.
“The UK is an incredibly important market to Netflix and we are proud to be increasing our investment in the UK’s creative industries,” a Netflix spokesman told UK newspaper The Guardian, which first reported the story.
“The Crown, Sex Education and The Witcher are among the shows that have been made in the UK this year and will be watched by the world. These shows are a testament to the depth of talent that exists here.”
Fantasy drama The Witcher, which is filmed at Arborfield Studios in Berkshire, is among those shows to have suffered delays due to Covid-19, with production halting twice due to positive coronavirus tests.
Chapelle series pulled
In related news, Netflix has pulled Chapelle’s Show from its platform just three weeks after its debut, following requests from its star Dave Chapelle.
The comedian claimed that he wasn’t paid by ViacomCBS after he left the show, which originally aired on its Comedy Central channel from 2003-2006, and while they were under no legal obligation to pay him he believed it was unethical.
In a video posted to Instagram, Chapelle said: “I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal because I signed the contract,” he said. “But is that right? I didn’t think so either.”
Chapelle, who has made multiple special with Netflix, went on to praise the streamer for agreeing to remove the comedy show said: “I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better.”
He also urged his fans not to watch Chappelle’s Show until the pay dispute is settled.